BEE HEARD: Nothing is Something Worth Doing

Photo Credit: Native Connections

For all of you taking the time to read this column today, I thank you first and foremost. Taking the time to read a newspaper is increasingly less common in the world where the internet and smartphones take up our time as well as the younger generations who tend to rely more on those tools. This piece is not to shame or ridicule the use of the internet or cell phones, but just to highlight the importance of finding other ways to spend our time. 

Our lives, depending on which season of life we happen to find ourselves in, is often defined by how much we do. Today I want to offer a defense for doing less, and the value in doing nothing. The nothing I’m talking is what most people think of these days as being “not productive.” Productivity is not a bad thing itself, and the works, crafts, and our responsibilities are a big part of our life and living in a good way. However, productivity can become something of a foggy goal and overworking can become an addiction. Of course, for some of us doing nothing is a bit hard, because we are always thinking about where to go next and we are becoming aware of our body and its need for some kind of stimulation, which pushes us into action. Most people do not like feeling bored, which is our bodies’ way of pushing us to get up and into motion. If we slow down enough to notice our breathing and push past distractions and boredom, we will start to tune into our mental and physical being. Doing nothing could be described as “going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” That quote comes from Winnie the Pooh, a gentle reminder to me that valuable wisdom can come from unexpected places. 

There used to be more time spent doing what Dr. Alok Kanojia refers to as “unstructured mental activity,” which is time where our minds are focused on awareness of our self and not a complicated task. Way back when, a lot of time was spent walking: during hunting, or while making things that took a long time to make by hand, but that wasn’t too complicated for the skilled craftsperson. During those activities our mind wanders and in this case that wandering mind allows for us to decompress, feel feelings, explore our own thoughts and the interior worlds we all have. Flash forward to now, and many people do not have unstructured mental activity, we walk much less, tasks are often varied and complex, and our phones constantly distract us from that inner world of thought and feeling that was harder to avoid when these technologies didn’t exist. 

If you want to get to know your inner world better, you can begin with a single intentional breath. Take a moment now to tune into your body and your breathing, notice the rise and fall of your chest and your belly with each breath. Notice the temperature of the air. Wherever you find yourself just look around and notice what you see, and then notice each of what your senses tell you. What can you hear, smell, feel, and taste. What do you notice? All the while, continue to breathe. Slow down, and just be.  

Productivity and the world around you can wait for you for 10 minutes.  

Here’s to your good health! 


It’s okay not to feel okay 


If you or someone you know has been struggling with their emotions, behaviors, or substance use please reach out to us. We can help you find appropriate tools and services that could help you overcome obstacles in your life. We are here for you. Please contact the Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division at 970-563-5700 for more information or to set up an appointment to see a counselor or therapist.  

Reminder: If you need to talk to someone, please reach out. 

  And for those interested in opioid use education, harm reduction, and support, please contact us for quick Naloxone (Narcan) training and fentanyl test strips. We can schedule individual, family, or friends training times at our Southern Ute Behavioral Health Building, or we can come to you, and the training is around 30 minutes. Please call us at 970-563-5700 to set up a training appointment. 

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